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Day/overnight trips from Auckland?

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Day/overnight trips from Auckland?

My new husband and I are going to be in Auckland for four nights. It's a lay-over between our home (San Francisco) and our final honeymoon destination, the Cook Islands.

I've been to New Zealand twice before (for several months each time, 1994 and 2000) and it's one of my favorite places in the world. My future husband has never been and I want to show him why I love it so much-- and try to convince him that we should move there for awhile. :-)

I know from past experience that four-and-a-half days in Auckland might be a bit too much and I'd like to take day trips-- or maybe an overnighter-- from Auckland to sample the various, wonderful things New Zealand has to offer. (Did I mention I want to sell my future husband on living there?)

Since we'll be in the Cook Islands for three weeks following Auckland, I think we can pass on any beach and kayaking activities while in New Zealand. Other than things on the sea, we both love wine, photography and hikes.

Can anyone suggest any decent wineries within reasonable driving distance of Auckland? (Hawkes Bay: too far.)

How about some only-in-New-Zealand attractions like the glow worm caves in Waitomo? (The downside to that is that the glow worm caves are the ONLY thing to do in Waitomo.)

I've been to the Bay of Islands before and I recall that it's quite far-- 4 hours each way to Paihia from Auckland? That might be a bit far.

My husband-to-be is not a Split Enz or Crowded House fan so no Te Awamutu tour of Finn Brothers history is in the cards for us. ;-)

I look forward to reading your suggestions. Thank you!

Bainbridge Island...
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1. Re: Day/overnight trips from Auckland?

Waiheke Island: you may have been there on your previous trips, but it's a fast-growing NZ wine area. It's a short ferry ride from Auckland, either walk-on only, or by car. We visited all of NZ's major wine regions in Nov/Dec, and Waiheke is unique because of it's island location (and very fabulous views back to Auckland from many of them). Our favorites were Mudbrick (the wine is good, but the food and views even better), Passage Rock (very nice 2002 red called Forte), and Te Whau (wonderful setting). Most wineries offered a selection of whites and blends of Merlot, Cab Sauv, Cab Franc and Malbec, mostly grown on Waiheke.

You could do a day-trip, but even better would be staying overnight for 1 or 2 of your nights. Lots of lodging options at: www.waiheke.co.nz

Aoraki Mount Cook...
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2. Re: Day/overnight trips from Auckland?

Definately agree with Waiheke. Rotorua is also an option for an overnighter - it would give you a chance to see some geothermal stuff.

There are also good wineries north of Auckland. Have a look at cuisine magazine for info on wineries - www.cuisine.co.nz

New Zealand
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3. Re: Day/overnight trips from Auckland?

tenspeedsf- sounds like you know NZ better than us locals!! Great suggestions from yourself but my vote's with Waiheke Island- it is absoulutely beautiful and some of the lodges there are "out of this world" or you may want to rent a cottage somewhere in seclusion right on the beach.

Another suggestion is Hotel du vin, check it out here www.hotelduvin.co.nz, another lovely hotel, vineyard and spa about an hour south of Auckland on the way to Rotorua. Perhaps you could combine this with a couple of nights in Rotorua. If you're a LOTR fan you will pass through Hobbiton aka Matamata(tours available) on the way to Rotorua.

www.hobbitontours.com

If you stay in Auckland and want to experience NZ birdlife and native bush- visit Tiritiri Matangi and island reserve in the Hauraki Gulf and just off the Whangaparoa Penninsula- website here

…govt.nz/Conservation/Showcase-Areas/Tiritir…

or www.tiritirimatangi.org.nz

Good luck with your wedding and in convincing your future hubby to move here- it is a fantastic place but then I'm biased!

One last thing, where are you staying in the Cooks, I'll check the Cook forum to see if you have a thread but there is a wonderful place to stay in Aitutaki if you're interested.

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4. Re: Day/overnight trips from Auckland?

Thank you for your replies. Lots of ideas here!

I'll look into Waiheke Island. When I made arrangements for accomodation in Auckland I asked the innkeepers what they thought of Waiheke and they think it's overhyped and overpriced. (My fiance and I live near Napa Valley, so we're familiar with hype and high prices.) Is this a common opinion among locals, or have these innkeepers not been bit by the wine bug? They suggested taking a Matakana wine tour with these guys instead: http://www.insidertouring.co.nz . The prices for these tours look crazy high and I think we'd be better off hiring a car for a day and checking wineries out at our own pace. I'd love to get your thoughts on the above. :-)

Zappers, we're going to be staying at Eta Moana on Aitutaki. Although I hope to do a lot of nothing in the Cooks, I would love to read some suggestions you may have for pleasant diversions from napping. :-)

cheers-

K.

Aoraki Mount Cook...
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5. Re: Day/overnight trips from Auckland?

Waiheke is more than just wineries.

The vineyards are very small, very boutique and I've got to agree that they don't represent the best value for money in terms of NZ wine.

However there is something quite magical about having dinner at Mudbrick and being able to look back at the Auckland city skyline.

Yes the tour operator that has been suggested to you looks v.v. expensive. There are other options for Auckland area wine tours, can't comment on them as I haven't used them, but I'm pretty sure that they are easily found in the Auckland A-Z, which is a little magazine you can pick up at the airport and most hotels/motels etc

Bainbridge Island...
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6. Re: Day/overnight trips from Auckland?

I think you could equate the Auckland - Waiheke comments from your innkeeper to SF –Sausalito...Waiheke has a more affluent reputation. As for wineries, we’ve toured Napa and Waiheke and it’s true that in comparison to other NZ wine regions, Waiheke is more expensive all around (tasting fees, wines, lodging). NettieNZ is also right in that the wineries are all boutique (vs many of the big Napa wineries with their massive tasting rooms/tours). So that makes the whole experience more unique than Napa. Also, unlike Napa, many of the Waiheke wineries have restaurants, and for the most part these had such spectacular views that the experience simply stands out. Of course, the weather needs to cooperate :)

The wineries are easily toured in one day if that’s all you want to spend. We took the walk-on ferry from downtown Auckland, rented a little car at the Waiheke terminal for our 2 days (from Waiheke Auto Rentals), and toured around the wineries on our own.

(Coincidentally, Zappers mentions Hotel du Vin, and a serious wine enthusiast we know highly recommended it as well, but we weren’t able to work that in to our trip. I’d heard they don’t actually have a working vineyard any longer…it’s more of a spa retreat…but not certain about that.)

Anyhow, hope this helps.

New Zealand
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7. Re: Day/overnight trips from Auckland?

Tenspeed- "I would love to read some suggestions you may have for pleasant diversions from napping. :-)"

Napping!!!......on your honeymoon, you won't have time for that and I don't think the forum police would like my suggestion for what you should be doing on Aitutaki! :)lol

Seriously though, you will absolutely love it there, it is our most favotite Pacific Island for chilling out. I don't know about Eta Moana, we stayed at The Pacific Resort which was fab (The Moana is on the same side of the island as the PR, fantastic sunsets and beautiful lagoon)- the island is very small and really there isn't much to do other than relax.

A couple of tips- hire a motorbike when you get there, very cheap(the hotel may have some or one of the locals- real casual, nothing flash but essential just to get you down to the village or to the other side of the island or out to another resort/retaurant for dinner. No matter if it sits for a day or two ;-) they are cheap enough, just to have the convienence.

Your own face mask, snorklel & flippers are a big bonus, you can use hotels/tour operators but having your own allows you the freedom (and hygiene)to spend hours and hours at any time of the day exploring the lagoon and the amazing sea life (better than Fiji we think) right in front of your villa. If you don't want to cart them 1/2 way around the world you can purchase resonably cheap sets here in NZ from "The Warehouse" or similar stores.

Take a tour out to One Foot Island and snorkle off the edge of the reef, lunch on the island- wonderful experience!

Have fun!

Wanganui NZ
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8. Re: Day/overnight trips from Auckland?

Congratulations on your nuptuals!

Skip the Waitomo caves. You won't be missing much. Everyone's suggestions for Waiheke are good.

Slightly off topic, I am a former Northern Ca. girl married to a Kiwi. I have lived in NZ for 11 years and have had three little kiwis. It is a brilliant place to raise children. It is less materialistic (in most of NZ), healthcare costs very little and dental is free to the age of 18. There are also very few stupid lawsuits, as people are meant to have common sense (go figure?). I can afford to live in a much nicer house in my small town than I could get in the small American town that I am from.

Good luck on showing your man around

Ponsonby, Auckland
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9. Re: Day/overnight trips from Auckland?

Take a ferry to Tiritiri Matangi, an island off Auckland which is a bird sanctuary. Take a picnic and swim in the clear water. AMAZING birdlife and bird song even if you are not into birds. Hard to believe you are just and hour and a bit from a big city. That will fill in one day.

Another good trip is to Muriwai, a wild beach on the west coast where thee is a gannet colony. Believe me you do not want to be a gannet but it is a beautiful spot. Also good eats out there and hot pools. About 40 minutes from Auckland I guess.

Stay in a Ponsonby b&b and enjoy the street and night life there.

Australia
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10. Re: Day/overnight trips from Auckland?

I like Sashas suggestions, and have to say I feel Waiheke is overpriced and over rated.But then again, if you live in the city I suppose it would appear to be lovely, but we are so spoiled where we are that we are fairly critical of places we visit.